Old-Fashioned School House Desk Support, Bannack State Park

Old-Fashioned School House Desk Support, Bannack State Park

There are rows of old-fashioned desks inside the School House at Bannack State Park (the Masonic Lodge is upstairs).  I tried to capture an image of the desks in a row from several angles, but the sunlight streaming in the windows created too many blown out areas.  Instead, I ended up capturing some detail images like the one above.

Keeping with the ghost town theme, I converted this image to black and white also.  Anyone looking to expand their black and white portfolio should certainly pay Montana’s Bannack State Park a visit!

Bannack State Park Masonic Lodge/School House:

N45°9’42”  W 112°59’51”

 

school-overhead

Masonic Lodge/School House, Bannack State Park, Montana Photography

Masonic Lodge/School House, Bannack State Park, Montana Photography (click to enlarge)

While in Montana, we met up with several old friends.  One, Dave Sorensen, is a water color artist of some renown (see Dave’s work here).  Sitting around in the evenings, we discussed his watercolors and my photography.  In his travels, Dave carries a small point and shoot camera.  When he sees a scene that he thinks has potential, he shoots a quick picture.  Later, he might use that picture as the inspiration for a watercolor.  The finished watercolor is his “interpretation” of that scene and might not be an exact rendering.

This got me to thinking about my photography.  Dave starts with a completely blank canvas and builds to his finished artwork.  In my case (and probably the case for every serious photographer) the images I capture are really just a starting canvas.  I use these as a base layer to start building my interpretation of the scene as I envisioned it.

The image above is an example of this.  The original image had no clouds in the frame.  None, zero, nada, just a very plain, washed out, blue sky.  The original was also very contrasty.  The sun was coming from the left, with the left side wall of the building almost blown out.  The top of the front face of the building was also in deep shadow under the eaves.  All in all, it was not a very inspired image when I took it.

Knowing I had a contrast problem, I took several images while varying the exposure time.  This allowed me to build an HDR image and somewhat even out the exposure across the image.  Since Bannack State Park is a ghost town, it seemed logical to convert the image to black and white.

Finally, I needed to “re-interpret” that dull sky.  During our trip I had taken several images of the sky when there were clouds.  I took these images during the morning, middle of the day, and towards evening.  This gave me a set of stock cloud images from which choose.  I selected an interesting image, lined up the clouds where I wanted them, used a layer mask, and presto, interesting sky.

Bannack State Park Masonic Lodge/School House:

N45°9’42”  W 112°59’51”

school-overhead

Interior wall of the Gibson House at Bannack State Park showing various cattle brands

Interior wall of the Gibson House at Bannack State Park showing various cattle brands.  (click to enlarge)

Here is an image of an interior wall of the Gibson House in Montana’s Bannack State Park.  The park’s tour book provides the following history of the Gibson House:

Built in 1862, this large two-story building was known as the Montana Hotel.  When the Gibson’s acquired the building in 1890 they continued to use it as a rooming house.  The smaller building on the left was the Gibson family home.  At some earlier time it served as a blacksmith shop, which is indicated by the brands still visible on the interior wall.

This wall is located in the smaller house, in the room to the left as you enter the front door.  I originally envisioned converting the image to black and white, but was not happy with the finished conversion.  Looking at the image, the bottom two and top two logs are different colors. There is also a color difference in the top two logs between each end and the middle.

These color changes are lost when converting the image to black and white.  I liked that in the above version, these color changes form a dark vignette around the left, bottom, and right side of the image drawing the viewer to the SS and clover shaped brands (maybe the clover is four horseshoes?).

Here is a Google Earth screen capture showing the location of the small Gibson House within Bannack State Park.

 

branding-house-google

 

Branding Iron Wall: N45 09 41 W112 59 49

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